This month, we had the opportunity
to, once again, connect with one of the women integral in helping
Reach Out and Read Georgia run so smoothly.
Gail Phillips is a
17-year Reach Out and Read veteran and has provided programmatic
technical assistance to participating medical sites in Georgia for
the last four years. As one of our Program Managers, Gail oversees
site applications, orientations and trainings as needed, and
helping new programs during the onboarding process. Once sites are
on-boarded, Gail assists them with implementation questions and
overall program management including asset mapping to assess
opportunities within their communities for support of the program,
like receiving donations from local organizations.
For the organization,
Gail is also responsible for working with all our partner vendors
to create custom book and equipment orders and ensuring all sites
complete their bi annual progress reports. Through her endearing
interpersonal skills she has helped our organization achieve 100%
compliance on this important and necessary reporting tool. Gail is
able to easily connect with a variety of staff members at our
participating sites due to her charming southern personality and
more times than not opens a call with an entertaining tale or two.
She also oversees the holiday book drives for which Reach Out and
Read Georgia is the recipient, liaising with local Barnes and
Nobles and Books a Million.
As a United Methodist
preacher's wife, Gail has dedicated her personal and professional
life to serving others. She currently lives in Myrtle Beach, SC
with her husband Buddy. She has dedicated her career to non-profit
human service, serving previously as Executive Director of an
agency in South Carolina that paired volunteers with the
organizations. Through this work, she learned of Reach Out and Read
when her agency was contacted to secure volunteers to get a county
Reach Out and Read program off the ground.
"Reach Out and Read,"
Gail says, "is the number one children's literacy program out there
and it's because of the doctors who believe that literacy starts at
birth. Early childhood literacy is not just about promoting
reading, not just about school readiness; it's an actual part of a
child's health and wellness."
Gail still has every single Golden
Book and all the "Dick and Jane" books from her childhood. She
reads them to her two precious grandchildren, ages 3 and 6. She's a
history buff; Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, is one of her
favorite. An avid and committed reader, she can think of only one
book ever that she started and didn't finish.
Of Reach Out and Read Georgia's
evolution during her four years with the organization, Gail said,
"Georgia has come so far. Reach Out and Read grew organically in
Georgia before [Executive Director,] Amy Erickson took the helm,
but I'm amazed what we've been able to accomplish under her
leadership. The number of sites has tripled and the resources Amy
has been able to bring to the organization is the reason why. It's
amazing what she's been able to do, particularly at rural sites.
Not one site has gone without books in the past year."